What is Geothermal Energy ?

Geothermal energy definition in simple language is: energy from the earth

There are reservoirs of molten liquid and steam that are stored below the earth’s surface from when the planet was first formed and the nuclear activity that still takes place deep in the earth’s core and mantel.  This energy can be tapped to generate electricity or to control the climate of buildings.

Geothermal Energy Pros and Cons

Some advantages of geothermal are that it is a consistent and reliable source of energy that is not dependent on weather.  It can be extremely efficient when tapped properly. It is naturally replenished and abundant. It is long lasting and usually low maintenance.  It does not produce air pollution and can replace the burning of fossil fuel that impact climate change. It can be used for large or small scale applications.  

Some of the disadvantages are that drilling the wells could be difficult, costly and could cause some point source pollution that can harm the environment.  The pumps used in most applications also require electricity.  It can also potentially use a lot of water resources.

How Does Geothermal Energy Work?

Geothermal works differently depending on how deep you go.  About 4 feet below the surface, the temperature remains fairly constant at about 55degrees Fahrenheit.  If you go deeper, the temperature rises as you get closer to the magma and radioactive material that can reach temperatures of 7,600 degrees Fahrenheit or higher.  There is more energy under the earth than all of the energy used by humans. Typical geothermal technology uses wells that are dug into underground pockets of water that are pumped up through pipes under high pressure.  The steam from this water can be used to operate a turbine that creates electricity.  The water can also be used as a heat exchange to warm or cool a building through a HVAC system.

Is Geothermal Energy Renewable?

The thermal nuclear energy that is ceaselessly produced inside of the earth can be used to produce heat and electricity for heating water, regulating climate in residential and commercial buildings, and for industrial purposes.  It is considered renewable because it is abundant, constantly regenerates, and does not create air pollution.  Finding ways to make geothermal affordable and efficient is key.